by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
Friends of Freedom,
SOS! Save our State Constitution. I need your help.
The State of North Carolina’s Constitution is the state’s most important document. We want our elected officials to uphold the Constitution, we want our students to learn from the history of our state and we adamantly believe we must get back to our founding principles that made North Carolina great – but how can we do that without the Rule Book – The Constitution of the State of North Carolina. Won’t you help me get copies into the hands of decision makers?
As I got ready for the JLF 2016 Candidate Education Forum series, I realized that there were no copies of our NC State Constitution available. None. How could I introduce the ideas of our founders to candidates, ensure they had their own copy for ready reference and equip them with the rules to govern, without the NC State Constitution? We were ready to go with a packet of information (Policy Guide, Fast Fact Cards, copy of Carolina Journal, etc) for every North Carolina legislative and counsel of state candidate but we were missing the most important piece – a copy of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina.
After checking with the powers that be here at the John Locke Foundation, I set about to fix the problem. I called the printer we know and trust, discussed updates (there have been two amendments to our constitution in the last couple of years), worked out an easy to read format and got pricing. So far, so good.
Who Did Not Want To Help:
The next step was to find the money. Figured I’d ask a few folks to pitch in. I started with some high power attorneys and a major law firm. After enjoying lucrative careers built on defending the Constitution, I was sure they would want to invest in making copies of the Constitution available. I was wrong. One suggested I get another generous benefactor to pay – just not him. Another just couldn’t be bothered. And the big law firm determined, “it wasn’t in their mission.” Huh?
Down hearted and discouraged, I started to realize that the folks who were going to help were not the fancy-schmancy lawyers who talked a big game. If we were going to save our State Constitution, real people, real taxpayers, real moms and dads, real people who understood the values our state stands for were the only hope. People like you and me.
Who Did Want To Help:
Each copy of the North Carolina Constitution costs $2.50 to print. JLF needed 2,000 copies. We needed to raise $5,000. Here is who stepped up to the plate:
Gene Boyce, a lawyer, scholar, teacher and staunch defender of Constitutional principles and Magna Carta expert stepped up. He and his wife Pat agreed to a generous contribution to the project. Now I had to find the rest.
The Wake County Taxpayers Association, an all volunteer organization that monitors the use of taxes and advocates for appropriate limitation of government overreach (in other words, adhering to the principles set forth in the state Constitution) pledged their support. We were on our way, but didn’t have quite enough to ensure that every legislative candidate would get their own copy of the NC Constitution.
The Republican Women of Cary and SW Wake Republican Women heard about the project and wanted to help too. Moms and working women were on board!
Then Wake County resident Gerry Coleman wanted to chip in.
Real, regular people like me and you were stepping up!
We were on our way but still not enough to get all the copies we needed.
And we were running out of time. The filing period for the 2016 elections was underway, candidates from across the state were lining up to enter public service, they were preparing to lead and I still didn’t have a copy of the Constitution to get into their hands.
Then Metro Productions the printing company who had helped with the formatting, the changes and setting everything up came through. They agreed to cover the rest of the expenses! We were down to the deadline.
The filing period had ended, the candidates had committed to run for public office but they didn’t have the Rule Book. Metro went into overdrive, printed 300 copies overnight, the JLF staff worked long into the night to get the packages stuffed, sealed, stamped and to the post office. Just days after the filing deadline, a packet with a copy of the NC Constitution was in the mail to 300 state legislative and council of state candidates. Hooray!
Why I Need Your Help:
But there’s more to the story and here is where I need your help. Word began to get out that we had copies of the State Constitution. Candidates for other offices wanted one. Incumbent legislators wanted copies to have available in their offices. Legislative candidates wanted additional copies – one for their office, one for home, one for the car. A law school professor who teaches a NC Constitution class wanted copies for his students. Other requests are coming, I know. History and civics teachers, charter and private schools, homeschoolers, girl scout and boy scout troops, citizen groups, book clubs, grandparents – maybe you. And this is a good thing – people interested in and committed to adhering to the principles and rules of government laid out in our State Constitution. But I don’t have enough copies for everyone who wants one. We are almost out right now.
You and I have talked about this – You want your elected officials to uphold the NC State Constitution. You want judges to enforce it. You want young people to know it. You want every voter to respect it. But they can’t if they don’t even know what’s in it, if they don’t have it to hold, to study, to make notes and to refer to again and again. Governing is hard; they need the rulebook. Government is big; we need the rules to reign it in.
We Need Your Investment in North Carolina:
Help me get a copy of the NC State Constitution into the hands of every North Carolinian we possibly can. Send a donation today to fund the John Locke Foundation State Constitution project. Every penny will go into printing and distributing – none to administrative costs. For every contribution of $25 or more, I’ll send you a copy too. Please make checks out to The John Locke Foundation and mail to 200 West Morgan Street, Raleigh NC 27601 and designate that it’s for the State Constitution project.
Please help me get the word around – please share this with your friends. Tell people what the State Constitution means to you, why it’s important. Encourage others to join us. Give me a call 919-828-3876, shoot me an email at [email protected] Send me a check. Let me know you’re with me on this.
Everyday citizens have made our state great. It’s up to us to keep it great. Let’s start today by making our State Constitution available to everyone who believes it too. My phone is ringing, my email is full of requests. I don’t want to say no to anyone who wants a copy of our State Constitution. I know you don’t either.
Please help today. Send your tax deductible contribution to:
JLF Save Our State Constitution Project
200 West Morgan Street, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27601
It’s up to us. Together we can Save Our State Constitution!
Yours in freedom,